LET'S GET REAL: WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO TALK ABOUT THE HARD STUFF
“We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted, medicated adult cohort in history”- Brene Brown
Damn. That's a pretty shocking statement and yet the reality of it is undeniable. There is a reason why Brene Brown's Ted Talk on vulnerability is one of the most watched of all time. We live in a time of innovation, progressive thinking, and abundant resources yet, so many of us struggle to meet some of our most basic needs.
Being human requires that we take off our masks, slow down, be present and sit with the realities of life- which sometimes aren't as "picture perfect" as we make them out to be on Instagram. Life is beautiful, there is so much to celebrate, be grateful for and share with others.
Yet, life is life.
There are always going to be inevitable moments of pain and unimaginable suffering, for all of us. It's the beauty of the highest of the highs and the lessons hidden in the lowest of the lows which give us meaning and slowly shape us into the people we are supposed to become.
However, there is a message that has been instilled deep within most of us. From an early age we learn- happiness must be shared and pain must be buried. We are comfortable sharing our successes but never our failures, glorifying the good moments in our relationships but facing the pain behind closed doors, shining a light on our happiness and hiding our depression.
Let's get real. It's hard to talk about the difficult things in life- it requires taking down your defenses and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Raw feelings begin to surface and suddenly a waterfall of hidden truths has the potential to emerge. The safety of the facade fades away and fear that others may learn the truth about our darkness and no longer love us because of it, sets in.
There's nothing more painful than being rejected for showing our true self.
So what do most people do?
They hide it.
Behind the perfectly photo-shopped Instagram accounts, selfies, endless margaritas and shopping sprees. What a perfect cover and distraction! So perfect that our society has become dependent on it to function. This mask has become our greatest coping skill and enemy all in one.
It's become so powerful and ingrained into our culture because it works... At least temporarily. Getting lots of "likes" on a photo or buying a brand new pair of shoes feels fucking amazing! Until someone else gets more "likes" or you spot even cuter shoes.
Suddenly there's the realization that all of these external "things" don't actually fill the hole of unacknowledged trauma, loss, anger, and sadness that too an extent exists within all of us.
This is the time when people usually come into therapy- when they reach a place where they can not pretend anymore. They are tired, broken and they need is to be seen...REALLY seen. To feel human with another who will not judge them and will contain the uncontainable.
The question is: Does it have to get to this point?
Things can change- but it takes a conscious effort from all of us. To begin talking about the "hard stuff" and teaching our children from a young age that difficult things in life WILL happen in life and that they are JUST if not MORE important than the good things.
It's our responsibility to start understanding and modeling to the next generation that true happiness in life, is not found by avoiding our negative feelings but rather learning to sit with and understand them. Using what we learn from those feelings to inform our decision and teach empathy, compassion, and understanding.
This is the way to create a better world and future. By acknowledging our pain and vulnerability- we are actually acknowledging our humanity and the fact that we aren't that different after all...
Maybe then we wouldn't feel the need to compare ourselves to the "insta-famous bloggers" or drink too many gin-and-tonics. Maybe then we could just sit and enjoy the sunshine on our faces, quality conversations and fulfilling relationships.